c1741-90. He was the youngest son of James Barkley from Banff, Cromarty, and of his wife, Jean Morrison, although his parent’s names were also spelled ‘Barclay’ and ‘Morison’.
Barkley was commissioned lieutenant on 27 October 1758, and in April 1763 was appointed to the cutter Hunter 4, serving off the Isle of Wight into the following year. He was promoted commander on 31 May 1766 and charged with recommissioning the Wolf 8, retaining her for the next three years in home waters and seeing some service off Cornwall.
He was posted captain on 30 May 1770, and that August sailed for North America in command of the Salisbury 50, retaining her in Boston with the broad pennant of Commodore James Gambier until the end of the following year when she was paid off at Plymouth. In January 1773 he commissioned the Portland 50, taking her out to Jamaica in March where she had been designated the flagship of Vice-Admiral Sir George Rodney. The admiral s flag-captain Captain Samuel Marshall then exchanged with him from the previous flagship Princess Amelia 80 which vessel Barkley paid off in September after returning to England.
From 1774 Barkley commanded the Scarborough 20, going out to North American waters from Portsmouth. At the start of the following year he entered the Savannah River in command of a small squadron with the intention of obtaining supplies, but when the locals refused to sell him any he took possession of two dozen rice boats and despite an American attempt to set fireships upon his anchorage he carried them out to sea. In early 1777 he commanded the Milford 28 in an acting capacity taking amongst scores of other vessels the American Continental Navy vessel Cabot 14 off Nova Scotia on 26 March. He was superseded by Captain Sir William Chaloner Burnaby at Halifax on 15 April, and upon returning to the Scarborough, he sailed with a convoy to New York in June, before returning north.
Commanding the French prize Blonde 32 to which he had removed earlier in the year, Barkley took several privateers including the Washington on 31 May 1778, the Resolution on 7 May 1779 and the Hannibal on 18 September 1780. In the same vessel he participated in Commodore Sir George Collier s expedition to the Penobscot in the summer of 1779, and the campaign to take Charleston on 11 May 1780. He later led a small squadron that occupied Wilmington and captured a dozen American ships in January 1781.
In September 1781 he removed to the the dull sailing Prudent 64 which he commanded at the action off St. Kitts on 25 to 26 January 1782, having to rely on a rescue from her consorts to avoid capture. He subsequently fought at the Battle of the Saintes on 12 April, where the Prudent was unable to join the action. She did however capture the privateers Marquis de Castries on 25 April and Roebuck on 17 October. On 15 February 1783 the Prudent joined the St. Albans 64, Captain Charles Inglis and Magnificent 74, Captain Robert Linzee, in a duel with the French frigates Concorde 36 and Amphion 36 that saw the former taken by the Magnificent.
Captain Barkley died at Bath, where he had a splendid residence, on 30 January 1790.
He married the heiress Elizabeth Willis of Digswell, Hertfordshire but had no issue. Curiously his widow then married a nephew, John Barkley, ostensibly because the family wished to retain the childless couples substantial wealth